The Moments we Miss

Sherna Alexander Benjamin
Posted February 4, 2020 from Trinidad and Tobago

Hope is a beautiful experience, it is not inanimate nor is it static. There are so many life experiences that come our way, however, if we are not mindful we can miss those moments of Hope which enhances and enriches our lives preparing us for that next life experience. For many of us, it is very easy to lose hope and sink beneath despair and often times we take this road.

To have HOPE calls for courage, vulnerability to ask for help or speak our truth, it calls for trust in ourselves and those around us and belief that Angels in the form of Human Beings (strangers) will arise and give us a hand-up to survive those moments when we feel as though our world is crashing. Hope is the ability to believe beyond a shadow of a doubt that tomorrow will be better. It is putting trust even in strangers to bear us when we have no strength to walk our mile.

Hope is the belief that our present lived experiences will change for the better and it enable us to imbibe the knowledge that we are not alone that someone is out there who will connect with our dreams, pains and visions for a better life and that someone or group of people will enable us to stand on their shoulders for a brief moment to rise and walk into our destiny to be champions for others. Hope is also the ability to pay it forward when we receive we share and in sharing we become active participants in moments of hope sending a ray of light across communities and into the lives of others we may never meet face-to-face.

Today, I write about my experience with hopelessness and how hopelessness enables me to experience#HOPE. This may sound like a strange paradox. But one never appreciates light if there is no darkness. I have learned to appreciate #Hope and what it means and how to keep it alive through my experiences with hopelessness (which is not static) and I am understanding daily how to transform hopelessness into HOPE. Women are unable to experience #Peace and #Security if they live in environments of Hopelessness and insecurity. Working with women and girls to build up their levels of hope also builds environments of Peace, #Safety and Security for #Women and #Girls to advance because its an intricate part of working towards #GenderEquality and #Equity to leave no one behind.

"Hope is that inner strength which enables us to walk graciously through fear, and misfortune while believing in a better tomorrow." – Sherna Alexander Benjamin I met Hannah in 2015 while presenting at a domestic violence community outreach initiative. After I completed my presentation she approached me, requesting a private audience. Sensing she may want to speak about a personal matter, I discreetly moved away from the crowd into one of the smaller rooms. Upon entering the room she began to cry, her head bowed and wiping away the tears she said, "Thank you for sharing your story! You do not know it, but you just saved a life." She then proceeded to speak about her present experiences as a result of being a victim of generational abuse. She spoke of having no formal education nor employment, the struggles to care for three young children after leaving her abusive partner, and feeling like a societal burden and failure. A few hours before our outreach event, Hannah was writing a suicide note to leave for her children as she was tired of life, of all the closed doors, of all the shameful stares, of all the harsh judgments by society, of all the lengthy and onerous bureaucratic processes from state agencies and she was tired of being tired. She was losing hope. I connected with some aspects of Hannah’s story. Taking the time to understand her experience. Listening compassionately in a non-judgmental manner enabled me to manifest generosity, opening the doors of empathy and compassion. 

Through a collaborative effort, Hannah received support to meet her priority needs and follow up support which facilitated environments for her to become empowered beginning the process of self-sustainability. That significant moment and the actions which followed activated the process of restoring Hannah’s human dignity, her hope in humanity and built a hope-filled foundation for her children. What I learned from Hannah’s story: * If we are not consciously present we can miss those moments when hope enters our lives. * Understanding someone’s experience will enable us to manifest generosity which opens the door for empathy and compassion. * Our actions or inactions can tilt the scales of life positively or negatively. * Tell your story. There are strangers who are waiting to hear it. Your story should not be kept to yourself as you are depriving others of seeing hope in action. * Just before the dawn the darkness intensifies – it is during this time we ought to firmly embrace those collective moments of hope to steer us into the dawn. * Though our experiences may have some similarities they are all unique. Do not devalue your experience by comparing it to someone else’s. Or by rewriting it to make it palatable for society – if you endured it then society can hear it in its most unapologetic and unfiltered form. * You are not alone, unseen watchers from the Cosmos are cheering you on and at the appointed moment in time, an angel arises with rays of hope, giving you a testimony for the present and preparing you for the journey ahead.

Over the last decade, I have had the awesome opportunity to connect with hundreds of people like Hannah and many others who endured various harrowing life experiences. As I continue to connect with communities of people, one common characteristic which emerges is "moments of hopelessness". At some point in our lives, we all experience those moments. 

In 2017, I created the HEED-U model to categorize my own behaviour as part of my personal healing process to connect with self. This model categorizes phases of behaviours during states and times of hopelessness:  1. "All is lost" – the individual is catapulted into severe states of despair leading to depression. 2. Quiet Unhealthy Adaptation– the individual quietly adapts to the presenting situation, with an "It is what it is, I am still alive" attitude, unconsciously becoming comfortable with hopelessness seeing self as a constant victim. 3. Careless Disruptor – the individual begins to engage in self-destructive behaviours (360 degree turns or subtly over time), another personality emerges to the surprise of many. 4. Blind Courageous Forger – the individual forges ahead despite the presenting situation(s) manifesting unhealthy hope living with a false sense of all will be well. 5. ReFocused Progressive Embracer – the individual analyzes the situation, acknowledges emotions and feelings, reflects, writes and ask for help creating beauty from the ashes. I soon realized that many persons want to be a ReFocused Progressive Embracer however, in reality, we often go through other phases of behaviour while progressing to the RPE phase and beyond. Everyone’s journey is different. No matter the phase you are in the behaviour is a cry for help and within every cry hope is present because deep within we yearn for a better tomorrow. We often look for hope to be public dramatic displays. However, it is progressive significant moments of remarkable resilience, courage, and trust in ourselves, those around us and in a stranger which manifests at moments in time. In essence, hope is trusting in humanity to understand our experiences. These progressive significant moments are manifested physically through our actions and validated by the actions of others. They come in small doses which we often miss favouring despair. Being consciously present while going through our adverse life experiences places us in a space to embrace, acknowledge and name those moments of hope for future reference. Whatever you may be experiencing, when you move through those life experiences, remember -- be present, embracing every moment, acknowledging every emotion though painful, name every feeling, and write every thought. Seek out what I call "value-based support systems" (VBSS), be kind to yourself and remember, every breath that you take is a breath of hope and every time you exhale you send hope into the Cosmos. As we embrace those progressive significant moments of hope during times of chaos and tragedy we open the door for the restoration of human dignity for ourselves and others.

"We educate women because it is smart. We educate women because it changes the world." - Drew Fuast

#ShernaAlexanderBenjamin #Hope #WorldPulse #LogOn #RiseUp #ReFocuz #ABetterTomorrow #WomenPeaceaAndSecurity #SDGs #2030

This story was submitted in response to Moments of Hope.

Comments 51

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Tamarack Verrall
Feb 04
Feb 04

Dear Sherna,
I am a spellbound and inspired member of your audience as I read though your powerful message.

"Hope is also the ability to pay it forward when we receive we share and in sharing we become active participants in moments of hope sending a ray of light across communities and into the lives of others we may never meet face-to-face";
"Thank you for sharing your story! You do not know it, but you just saved a life";
"...if you endured it then society can hear it in its most unapologetic and unfiltered form
every cry hope is present because deep within we yearn for a better tomorrow"

What a blueprint you have offered for all who are lucky enough to meet you or read you. Your HEED-U model is brilliant. Thank you for sharing it with us here. Soar on, dear sister.
Love in Sisterhood,
Tam

Sister Tam,
Thank you for this powerful message. You continue to inspire and provide space for us to learn, grow and use our voices for change. I am still working on my HEED-U Model. And will share at an appointed time in the future. Love in Sisterhood.
Sherna

Metiege Noel Eve
Feb 04
Feb 04

Thank you sister SHERNA for this write up about hope and thank you for providing the shoulder to cry on. It is an old adage even in the bible that we all need somebody to lean on when we are not strong we all have pains
Personally I am so incepted to friends and family who stood by me and gave me hope after I suffered a left side stroke in 2023 for a moment I thought I would die but thanks to testimonies and hope given to me from friends I had the courage to fight on till date.

My Sister Metiege,
Your testimony has given me hope. The fact that you are still fighting and using your voice must be commended. Thank you for your kind comment.
-Intentionally Progressive - Sherna

Nene Nkengla
Feb 04
Feb 04

Hello sister Sherna, thank you for sharing this write up. It has really inspired me

Hello Sister Nene Nkengla,
Thank you for reading and commenting. May the words continue to encourage you to never give up on your dreams and never allow others' perceptions of you to change you.
- Intentionally Progressive - Sherna
#ReFocuz

maeann
Feb 04
Feb 04

Thank you Sherna for sharing your hope. We all need to hope for our lives and for our community. This is very inspiring.

Hello Sister Maeann,
It is an honor to read your comment, thank you for reading and you are correct "We all need hope for our lives and for our community."

-Intentionally Progressive
Sherna
#ReFocuzz

Hello, sister Sherna,

Wow. There are so many life lessons in your posts. But I am personally in awe with your encounter with Hannah. How amazing it is that just by sharing your story, you prevented her from committing suicide.

Thank you for sharing insights on hopelessness and motivational words. This is a treasure to keep.

Hello Sister Karen,
Thank you for reading and commenting I am encouraged by your words and your passion for change. May our words continue to encourage and lift up other women around the globe.

- Intentionally Progressive
Sherna
#ReFocuz

You are welcome, dear sister. :) We are all in this together. Sending you love and support from the Philippines. Press on! We stand with you!

Felicitas Wung
Feb 05
Feb 05

Helo sister.
You've just shared everything concerning #HOPE.
By sharing our story it gives hope to another person just as what you passed through gave hope to Hannah. That saved her life because she was at a point to commit suicide but she changed her mind.
Your write-up is so inspiring.
Thank you.

Hello Sister Felicitas,
Hope is in the very air we breather, the blinking of our eyes and the steps we take. Thank you for reading and commenting. I am happy to know that this piece has inspired you. Keep using your voice.

-Intentionally Progressive
Sherna
#ReFocuz

Marie Abanga
Feb 05
Feb 05

Dear Sherna,

I don't know what else to write other than RESPECT.

Life and love
In sisterhood all the way
Marie

Hello Sister Marie,
Thank you for reading and commenting your words even the word "RESPECT" meant a lot and was deep.
-Intentionally Progressive
Sherna
#ReFocuz

Anita Shrestha
Feb 06
Feb 06

Thank you for sharing

Hello Sister Anita,

Thank you for reading and encouraging me to continue hoping, but more so encouraging sisters you work with to walk in hope.

-Intentionally Progressive
Sherna
#ReFocuzz

Ekitah
Feb 06
Feb 06

Hello Sherna!
Infact i lack words to express the level of inspiration i have gotten after going through this writeup. HOPE is the foundation of our living here on earth. Thats why its said if your hope is lost it means everything is gone. Thanks so so much for throwing more light on hope and as many sisters go through this story, their hopes will be restored. Hug!

Hell Sister Ekitah,
Thank you for reading and commenting. We live in a world where the atrocities and other disasters contribute to many of our sisters losing hope in humanity. We must be the hope they have been looking for. Use your life, your experiences and your purpose to transmit hope to other women who believe all hope is gone.

-Intentionally Progressive
Sherna
#ReFocuz

lizzymark
Feb 06
Feb 06

Wow Sherna,its so amazing so captivating your story has just lifted me up to hope for more and never see impossibility in any area of life. The hope you gave Hannah,we may not change the whole world but the one woman or girl you touch one day at a time is more than enough, your story stopped a suicide attempt. Please keep doing what you do and raising your voice for just that one girl or woman out there. Thanks for shearing dear

Hello Sister Iizzymark,
Thank you for reading and commenting. Transmitting hope to one woman at a time, changing the world one woman at a time and restoring hope one woman at a time. Keep touching lives my sister, keep transforming and igniting hope.

-Intentionally Progressive
Sherna Alexander Benjamin
#ReFocuz

Wukwen Destiny
Feb 06
Feb 06

Hi sherna
Amazing one ....hope..... you may not have a comfortable life and not always be able to solve all of the world's problem at once but don't ever underestimate the importance you can have because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope takes up a life on its own.

Hello Sister Wuken Destiny,
Thank you for reading and encouraging me. I agree with you when you said "courage can be contagious and hope takes up a life on its own." My sister keep on being courageous.
_Intentionally Progressive
Sherna Alexander Benjamin
#ReFocuz

bridggyella
Feb 06
Feb 06

Hi Sheena,
This is an insightful read. Yes, one must appreciate light in the midst of darkness. I'm impress that you found hope and I pray other sisters who feel hopeless get inspired and find to find that which they seek.
Thanks for sharing.
Cheers,
Bridget

Hello Sister Bridggyella,
Thank you for reading and commenting. Hope is the ability to believe tomorrow will be better while going through hell today. The path is never easy but the path will evolve and there would be times when we walk in the beauty of hope personified. Keep touching lives, my sister.

-Intentionally Progressive
Sherna Alexander Benjamin
#ReFocuz

Njemo Naomi Mabuh
Feb 06
Feb 06

This is exactly what we need ....when we feel our situations can't change sometimes. Your words, truly carry hope. Thank you for inspiring

Hello Sister Njemo Naomi Maguh,
Thank you for reading and encouraging. May you provide space to ignite hope. It all begins with a word.

_Intentionally Progressive
Sherna Alexander Benjamin
#ReFocuz

Mercy Vernyuy Munyuy

Dearest Sherna
These lines Bello mean so much to me.thanks for sharing .courage sister
Women are unable to experience #Peace and #Security if they live in environments of Hopelessness and insecurity. Working with women and girls to build up their levels of hope also builds environments of Peace, #Safety and Security for #Women

Hello Sister,
Thank you for reading and commenting. If as women we live in environments of hopelessness there can not be peace, safety, and security. Igniting hope opens the doors for women to strong and courageous to advance. Keep using your voice and skills to provide spaces of hope.

-Intentionally Progressive
Sherna Alexander Benjamin
#ReFocuz

malarai
Feb 07
Feb 07

Dear Sherna,
Thank you for sharing such an inspirational write up.
Keep inspiring the world.
In sisterhood,
Mala

Hello Sister Malarai,
Thank you for reading and commenting. I am glad that you are inspired. Now do something with that inspiration. Touch lives and inspire others.

-Intentionally Progressive
Sherna Alexander Benjamin
#ReFocuz

Deborah Munyekenye
Feb 07
Feb 07

Hi Sherna,
True, as you have written hopelessness makes one to appreciate hope.

Hello Sister,
Thank you for reading. May you continue to touch lives to live moments of hope.
-Intentionally Progressive
Sherna Alexander Benjamin
#ReFocuz

LYDIEN YUNIWOH
Feb 08
Feb 08

Hello Sherna,
Hope you are doing great. Thanks for sharing. Am inspired. To have hope calls for courage indeed. I wiped when I go through your encounter with Hannah, see how you save a dying soul with your words of hope. Sis, I can go through this story time and again and will never get tired . I feel like am already victorious.

Hello Sister Lydien Yuniwoh,
Thank you for reading this piece. May your walk be one of hope and encouragement. Always keep pushing for your dreams no matter how the path to its realization looks. Keep hoping, keep striving keep hoping.

-Intentionally Progressive
Sherna Alexander Benjamin
#ReFocuz

Tumanjong Miranda
Feb 08
Feb 08

I'm over the edge with this powerful message you have put out to the us today. These words wouldn't stop echoing in my mind "Hope is that inner strength which enables us to walk graciously through fear, and misfortune while believing in a better tomorrow."
Honestly sister, you are the hope to those who have encountered you. You are the change the world needs. And your HEED-U model is the deal maker.
Thank you!!! :-)

Hello Sister,
Thank you for reading. Hope is an intricate part of our lives and understanding it encourages us to keep moving on. Hope does not mean you will be basking in moments of joy every day it means that you understand tomorrow will be better. Keep touching lives my sister, keep using your voice.

-Intentionally Progressive
Sherna Alexander Benjamin
#ReFocuz

Myra Tambor
Feb 09
Feb 09

This is very inspiring. Thank you for sharing.

Hello Sister Myra Tambor,
Thank you for reading and commenting. Continue using your vice for change and touching lives.

-Intentionally Progressive
Sherna Alexander Benjamin
#ReFocuz

laison sylvie
Feb 10
Feb 10

My sister Sheena, infact reading your story gives me hope. Thank you for the great impact you are making on the lives of these women and girls. These are the steps we need to take in order to change the entire world.

Seka
Feb 10
Feb 10

Thanks for your very important post.
Seka

Hello Sister Seka,
Thank you for reading. May you continue to use your voice for transformative change.
-Intentionally Progressive
Sherna Alexander Benjamin
#ReFocuz

Hello, Sister laison Sylvie,
Thank you for reading and commenting. Our voices give hope to the women and girls we work with and even those we have never met. Continue using your voice and continue reaching for beyond the stars.

-Intentionally Progressive
Sherna Alexander Benjamin
#ReFocuz

Oluwatoyin Olabisi
Feb 11
Feb 11

I am serenading over your write-up.
It held me spell bound.
As Women we must all keep our hopes Alive for Generations yet unborn.
Please Follow me back.
Thank you

Hello Sister Oluwatoyin Olabisi,
Thank you for reading and commenting. I love your words "As Women, we must all keep our hopes Alive for Generations yet unborn." Keep inspiring women, keep using your voice and keep working for transformative change. You are the hope women have been looking for.

-Intentionally Progressive
Sherna Alexander Benjamin
#ReFocuz

ARREY- ECHI
Feb 11
Feb 11

Dear Sherna,
This is deep and a powerful reminder that there is power in a personal story. Thank you for using your story to great beauty from ashes, inspiring and uplifting other women. I particularly loved this line ...' I connected with some aspects of Hannah’s story. Taking the time to understand her experience. Listening compassionately in a non-judgmental manner enabled me to manifest generosity, opening the doors of empathy and compassion. '

We all need this reminder.

Hello Sister Arrey-Echi,
Thank you for reading and commenting. You are an inspiration, your voice, your testimony, your work. Keep igniting hope.

-Intentionally Progressive
Sherna Alexander Benjamin
#ReFocuz

D'explora.
Feb 21
Feb 21

Wow... This is so inspiring... Thank you so much ma... God bless you greatly.

Hello Sister,
Thank you for reading and commenting. I accept the blessing. May you be blessed as you use your voice, knowledge, and abilities to support women and girls in your country. May you ignite hope.
-Intentionally Progressive
Sherna Alexander Benjamin
#ReFocuz

Chidimma
Mar 10
Mar 10

I am very delighted to have read your post. Is very educative and revive the hope in women. Thanks I encourage people and women around me through your post.

Shirin Dalaki
Mar 10
Mar 10

Dear Sherna,
Your story is inspiring. I love what you wrote, " If we are not consciously present we can miss those moments when hope enters our lives. * Understanding someone’s experience will enable us to manifest generosity which opens the door for empathy and compassion"...and so true. Thank you dear.

Shirin